By Neeknaz Abari on June 19, 2017
Representation2020 has released its latest analysis on the underrepresentation of women in elected office, quantified through the Gender Parity Index. The GPI rates women’s recent electoral success at the local, state, and national levels, and the 2017 report finds that women are underrepresented at all levels of government.
As of June 2017, the median Gender Parity Score is 18.6, barely up from the 2015 score of 18.1. The GPI ranks New Hampshire first and Mississippi last in women’s political representation. Out of all 50 states, 33 have a Gender Parity Score below 25, giving them a grade of D or F.
The GPI indicates regional gender parity trends across the nation. Six of the ten states with the lowest Gender Parity Scores are located in the South (Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee). In contrast, the Northeast and West lead the country in women’s representation, containing nine of the 10 highest ranked states (Arizona, California, Hawaii, Maine, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Oregon, and Washington).
As the Northern Mariana Islands do not have statehood, they did not receive a formal Gender Parity Score, but the GPI Report still tracks their progress toward parity. Unfortunately, their progress is only marginal. The Islands have never elected a female delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives or a female governor. Furthermore, just one of nine seats in the Northern Mariana Islands’ Senate and two of 20 seats in the territory’s House of Representatives are held by women.
In order to make progress toward achieving gender parity, the Northern Mariana Islands must elect more women to its legislature and to the position of governor by recruiting and encouraging female candidates.